Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Confronted With Killing Of US Diplomats In Libya, Rmoney's First Reaction Is To Politicize The Incident - UPDATED 3X

When I was young, I was taught that "US politics stops at the water's edge": i.e., that the introduction of partisanship into matters of war or diplomacy was unofficially off-limits for any American official. That rule just took a major hit from Mitt Rmoney, who doesn't seem to care what his deplorable politicization of an international incident looks like to the rest of the world.

US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three embassy staffers were killed in a rocket attack in Benghazi, apparently in the second day of mob assault on the embassy, which was reportedly destroyed.

A separate article links the attack to the infamous Qur'an-burning American pastor Terry Jones, whose prior very public actions have triggered violence against Americans in Muslim countries before. (Aside: I wonder if the Rev. Jones could be charged as an accessory to murder. I doubt it. I suppose there's a First Amendment issue involved, and there's no American law against being a motherfucking bastard.)

All that aside, what the fuck does Rmoney think he's doing? I know Republicans in general have done their damnedest to stir up as much trouble for Obama as possible; that is clear from their congressional obstructionism to Obama's legislative attempts to create jobs. But... what about that "water's edge" thing?

I realize there are people who have no scruples. (Rmoney seems a good example.) I know there are Americans who consider their highest loyalty to their religion [added] or to their political party [/added], not to their nation. (I suppose America's permitting that is one acid test of whether America has the potential to be a free country.) BUT NO ONE WHO HOLDS THAT BELIEF SHOULD BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. End of story.

Well, not quite. My condolences to the families of Ambassador Stevens and his staff. Diplomacy can be a very dangerous occupation, and their positions... coupled with the utter stupidity of one brainless US pastor... cost them their lives. There is a long history of "shoot the messenger," and regrettably, Ambassador Stevens's death will not be the end of it. But it is always tragic when some of our best and brightest are killed essentially for no good reason.

And Rmoney's reaction? I feel as if he pissed on their graves.

UPDATE: as Ben Smith of BuzzFeed tells us, even many Republicans believe Rmoney's statement was "trying to score a cheap news cycle hit," an "utter disaster," "[n]ot ready for prime time," not "presidential of Romney to go political immediately," etc., etc. What can I say... all of those assessments of Rmoney, all by Republicans, are valid: he is nowhere nearly mature enough to execute foreign policy without precipitating major disasters. This man must NOT become president. (H/T upyernoz for the link.)

UPDATE: this is probably the only occasion on which you will find praise on this site for the responses of Turtle-face and Orange-man, but both Sen. McConnell and Rep. Boehner got it just right:
“Yesterday we commemorated the anniversary of the attacks of September the 11th, and today we are reminded that brave Americans serve us every day at the risk of their own lives,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a statement. “We honor the Americans we lost in Libya and we will stand united in our response.”

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced plans for a moment of silence in the House and ordered flags at half staff.

“We mourn for the families of our countrymen in Benghazi, and condemn this horrific attack,” he said in a statement. “Eleven years after September 11, this is a jolting reminder that freedom remains under siege by forces around the globe who relish violence over free expression, and terror over democracy — and that America and free people everywhere must remain vigilant in defense of our liberties.”
Now THAT is the sort of response Rmoney should have offered.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall's piece yesterday, 9/12, on Rmoney's moment of obvious unreadiness for the presidency is well worth reading. His conclusion (all bolds mine):
Bear in mind, this [activity within Romney's campaign] was all happening while attacks on US personnel abroad were ongoing. According to a statement released this morning by the White House, the President was told last night that Ambassador Chris Stevens was unaccounted for. Only this morning did he learn that Stevens had died in the attacks that were on-going last night.

The campaign also authorized Romney’s top foreign policy advisor to give a blistering interview attacking the president while the attacks were continuing.

Politics is hardball. Everything is, in some sense, fair. But campaigns are also a prism into the judgment and steadiness under pressure of a person who would be president. This was amateur hour for the opposition campaign last night, reminiscent of John McCain’s rash call four years ago to cancel the presidential debates and the campaign itself to deal with the unfolding economic crisis. There was nothing ignoble or dishonorable about McCain’s suggestion. It just showed a certain rashness that was widely viewed as unpresidential.

Romney’s moment was quite different — rash and shameful. Not worthy of a president. Crass, undignified and troubling on many levels.
"[R]ash and shameful. Not worthy of a president." Enough said.


  1. The Mittster has something seriously wrong with him. It might be exhaustion, or a blood chemistry imbalance, but the guy is not responding normally to changing situations. I can't believe he doesn't know that he should consider the impact before speaking, but he doesn't.

    He used to be able to do it, to handle potentially 'hazardous' questions by pausing before answering. He went to law school, and it is a normal part of learning to become a lawyer.

    He really needs to see a doctor, because the next two months are going to be a grind.

    This happened to my Dad, and it turned out it was oxygen deprivation cause by pneumonia that was undiagnosed, so I've seen it.

  2. In his response to the deaths of four U.S. diplomats in Libya and anti-U.S. rioting in Egypt, Mitt Romney learned a hard lesson about the forbidden fruit of foreign policy...
    In his zeal to capitalize on the Cairo demonstrations, Romney overreached, then got overtaken by tragic events in Benghazi, Libya. That forced him, in effect, to double down with a Wednesday press conference where he looked ill at ease, defensive, opportunistic and — even some of his most ardent GOP boosters privately conceded — unpresidential.

  3. Bryan, I am sorry your father went through that; you must have felt the way I did as I watched my late lamented mother sink into the intellectual oblivion of Alzheimer's disease.

    I don't know what's wrong with Rmoney. He became the Republican candidate in an era of unprecedented doubling-down by Republicans in general; the way all of them face any problem is to stick with their initial reaction no matter how erroneous, even destructive, that reaction turns out to be. These are not the Republicans of our youth; some of them were rational even if far too conservative. I suppose Rmoney is well-suited for today's GOP: a sick candidate for a sick party.

    As you know, I have many complaints about Obama. (You have a few yourself as I recall.) His policies on human rights and civil liberties are ghastly. But the one thing I can say for him is this: he is fully capable of the job of President of the United States. "No-Drama Obama" is apparently for real in that respect. At this point, I am willing to accept his other failings in the interest of saving the republic. And I believe that's what it has come down to: if Rmoney/Ryan take this election, I suspect America is doomed. Yes, they really are that bad: they are worse than GW Bush and Dick Cheney, and that's saying a mouthful.

  4. Enfant, that assessment is accurate as far as it goes, but it is far too forgiving of Rmoney's behavior in this circumstance. Think for a moment about how reckless his remarks were. Think about how little understanding he showed of the situation. Think of the haste with which he issued denunciations of Obama and the State Dept. before the facts were fully known. Then think of how that would have played out if Mitt had been president.

    We're talking about the Presidency of the United States here... the macho fucking United States, the militarily most powerful nation in the world. Is Rmoney able to handle that kind of power with the required aplomb? I think not. (As for Paul Ryan, I think "nut".) This is not the playground or the sandbox: this is international relations we're talking about. The one thing the US cannot afford to have as president is a shoot-from-the-hip amateur with a supporting staff of amateurs.

  5. The Republicans have been in full Monty intellectual decline since the Nixon/Reagan presidencies. They represent nothing more these days than lies and amateurish propaganda. Romney is nothing more than an empty suit filled to the brim with this garbage.

  6. And yet, karmanot, many people will vote for him because he is on the GOP ticket. Otherwise intelligent people who got themselves hooked into the GOP of, say, Dwight Eisenhower's day managed to influence their children always to vote Republican, no matter whom the GOP runs for office. This is much more the case with the GOP than with the DP, which is full of people like me who have to be convinced over and over again. Even at this point, we could still end up with that empty suit for president... and, worse, that not-so-empty, full-of-shit suit for vice president. It could happen. Money works miracles; just ask the megachurches. :-)

  7. Lets start a church of Angry American Morons and make a fortune Steve.

  8. MandT - shades of old jokes about the Moron Tab 'n' Apple Choir! I know, it's not cool to joke about someone else's religion, but if anyone is asking for it, it's Rmoney.

    The fortune sounds good about now. Being a cripple AND a diabetic ain't cheap...



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